STS veterinary unit in Mozambique was recently contacted to lead the rescue operation of 3 white rhinos. They had escaped from Kruger National Park, to a community area in Southern Mozambique.
Unfortunately, the animals had entered one of the most dangerous places in the world for rhinos. The village of Massingir, south of Limpopo National Park (LNP). Known to be a base for poachers, urgent measures had to be taken to prevent what would be a certain death situation.
The STS vet was flown to the remote location. There he met with LNP rangers, Karingani Game Reserve (KGR) rangers and also Mozambican police. Rangers were already tracking the different animals and had “eyes on” one adult female. We decided to take care of her first. The tracking teams continued to search for the other 2 animals.
Meanwhile the Police informed us that other groups were also tracking the rhinos. These ones had other intentions…they were organised poaching syndicates.
A Race Against Time
The animal was chased close to the Karingani game reserve fence. It was darted from the air. A soon as the drugs took effect, the KGR fence team took down a portion of the fence. Team sts partially reversed the anaesthetic. Together with the helicopter pilot, police and rangers, they walked the precious rhino back to safety.
Light was fading and the chopper got airborne again. Despite the huge joint effort, by night the 2 rhinos were still to be found. At first light the next day, we continued tracking on foot. Under the burning summer heat, persistence paid off. At 2 pm another animal was located. It was herded through a gap in the GLC fence to safety.
At this stage, the third animals’ location is still unclear. However, we fear that due to the dangerous location, its chances of survival seemed slim. We will keep looking and hope to find him before the worst happens.
We Need Your Help
Saving the survivors needs your support to keep doing this critical work in Mozambique. This was a hugely costly mission to rescue these endangered rhinos. Without your support, they would have been left in grave danger. Please donate now.
Thank you to everyone involved in this successful rescue operation. ANAC, Mozambican Police, Karingani Game Reserve & DAG APU